Colourful Cuba, Havana, Cuba (Geraint Rowland)
List 01 February 2019

Photo of the Year 2018: The results

After poring over thousands of entries to this year's Photo of the Year competition, the judges have finally come to a decision. And the results are outstanding. See the winning photographs here..

Landscape

 

 

Highly commended 

When East meets West (Joe B N Leung)

When East meets West (Joe B N Leung)

A moment of calm within a chaotic urban landscape. It’s a shot with a great colour palette that keeps on bringing you back, and each time you discover something different. The figure in the bottom corner only adds to the sense of scale

– Judges' comments 

Hong Kong is very much influenced by both Western and Asian cultures. However, the Chinese people there still retain their customs in giving out blessings and greetings during Chinese New Year in the form of calligraphy and symbols, as demonstrated in these incredible posters.

 

Where: Central district, Hong Kong Island

By: Joe B N Leung

Settings: Leica X2, 24mm f/2.8, 1/100 sec @ f/4, ISO 100

Runner-up

The 15-second exposure gives this shot its heart, ensuring that the explosion of water really dominates the scene – just as the photographer intended.

— Judges' comments 

Aldeyjarfoss (Markus van Hauten)

Aldeyjarfoss (Markus van Hauten)

Where: Northern Highlands, Iceland

By: Markus van Hauten

Settings: Canon EOS-1D X, 17-40mm f/4L @ 20mm, 15 sec @ f/13, ISO 100

It was not easy to get this picture. Aldeyjarfoss is located in the Northern Highlands of Iceland, and to get there under winter conditions can sometimes be difficult. You need a Super Jeep and time. On our way, there were a lot of snowdrifts and the driver had to flatten the tyres to their minimum. But we did finally arrive, 30 minutes before sunrise, and found these beautiful conditions.

Winner

Feeding on salt (Paul-Vlad Epure)

Feeding on salt (Paul-Vlad Epure)

 

Lake Retba, or Lac Rose (Pink Lake), used to be the finishing point of the Paris-Dakar Rally until it moved to South America in 2009. Located north-east of Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, the lake took its name from the pink/red waters, caused by Dunaliella salina algae, and is known for its exceptionally high salt content – up to 40% in some areas.

Where: Lake Retba, Senegal

By: Paul-Vlad Epure

Settings: DJI FC220, 26.3mm f/2.2 @ 4.7mm, 1/1,250 sec @ f/2.2, ISO 100

 

A highly original and bold composition. The 50:50 split might break the rules of photography but it works a treat here. Great visualisation by the photographer to see the potential of the contrast between the orange water and chalky-coloured land when viewed from the air.

— Judges' comments 

Wildlife 

Highly commended 

Swan lake (Kellie Netherwood)

Swan lake (Kellie Netherwood)

Cleverly taken in challenging conditions. This is a wonderfully atmospheric shot – the only splash of colour coming from the swan’s yellow bills

— Judges' comments

As snow sweeps across Kussharo Lake, whooper swans seek warmth in the small section left unfrozen by the flow of hot spring water. This was taken in Hokkaido, Japan, at a time of year that has freezing temperatures and falling snow, creating hostile but magical conditions. 

Where: Hokkaido, Japan

By: Kellie Netherwood

Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mk III, EF 100- 400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM @ 100mm, 1/2,500 sec @ f/8, ISO 800

 

Runners-up

Breathtaking (Gheorghe Dragomir)

Breathtaking (Gheorghe Dragomir)

With 2,500 acres to roam during rutting season, you can hear the mating call of the red stag throughout London’s Richmond Park. I find it amazing these beautiful wild animals live so close to humans. I was very fortunate to capture this photo of one stag exhaling, a crow perched on his back, during a beautiful golden sunrise.

 

Surrounded (Pao Ning Yu)

Surrounded (Pao Ning Yu)

This was taken as the sun was setting on one of the watering holes of Etosha. Four female lions had killed a kudu and were taking their time devouring their kill. Unfortunately, 16 hyenas got wind of the scent. What ensued was a fight for survival as the hyenas tried to wrestle the kudu from the lions. They did finally convince the lionesses to leave, but not before a fierce fight in which both sides sustained bloody wounds.                                                                                                                                           

Where: Richmond Park, London, UK

By: Gheorghe Dragomir

Settings: Nikon D800E, Tamron 150-600mm @ 500mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/6.3, ISO 100

Judges’ comments: “A long autumnal sigh of a shot. Richmond’s deer are often photographed, but this shot in particular has been expertly executed – the negative space in the frame filled gloriously with that plume of golden breath. Well composed, well anticipated and, best of all, captured in that all-important early-morning sunlight.”

Where: Etosha National Park, Namibia

By: Pao Ning Yu

Settings: Canon EOS 7D, EF 300mm f/4 IS USM @ 420mm, 1/800 sec @ f/9, ISO 400

Judges’ comments: “A wonderfully feral story unfolding in real time and captured perfectly. It’s a moment of intense connection – high drama writ large in a razor-sharp image."

Winner

Scissors, paper, stone…(Paul Wynn)

Scissors, paper, stone…(Paul Wynn)

 

I was on an early-morning river safari when the peace and quiet was disturbed by a noisy troop of baboons. After a while I noticed a couple of baboons who seemed to be engrossed in their own game. The rising sun was low in the sky and behind the subject, but by underexposing the shot, I was able to eliminate shadow detail and create the golden outline of the animals.

Where: Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana

By: Paul Wynn

Settings: Nikon D7100, Sigma 150-500mm @ 500mm, 1/2,000 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 450 

A fantastically difficult image to shoot in this light and still acheive the correct exposure. The backlight captured on the fur of these grooming baboons creates a simple but powerful outline. An intimate moment well captured

— Judges' comments 

People

Highly commended 

The sculptor (Aung Ya)

The sculptor (Aung Ya)

Great light and a strong composition. This is such a beautiful sunset, yet the sculptor is immersed only in his work. A shot that tells a story

— Judges' comments

 

 

The man in the image is a sculptor. His life is spent creating art, cherishing  the sense of immortality that his work brings. His sculptures may be shipped around the world; they may even be worshipped – even if he himself will never be. He lives in a small village and is not famous; not many people know him, and while his art graces big cities and will be seen by many people, it is unlikely he will ever see them enjoying it.

Where: Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)

By: Aung Ya,

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, 10-20mm @ 10mm, 1/160 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 100

Runner-up

Wild, vibrant and colourful, this shot draws you in. A shocking and unique image that is full of character and both evokes danger and celebrates it.

— Judges' comments  

The face of Kulasai (Shibasish Saha)

The face of Kulasai (Shibasish Saha)

Where: Tamil Nadu, India

By: Shibasish Saha

Setting: Nikon D7200, Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm f/2.8 @ 15mm, 1/125 sec @ f/8, ISO 1,000

Kulasekarapattinam is a remote Indian village in India’s Tuticorin District that is best known for its grand Dussehra Festival. During this event, people from all over Tamil Nadu throng its temple to offer special prayers. On the tenth day after the new moon, some 1.5 million devotees gather. Those who have fasted for the previous 41 days dress like gods and goddesses and march here from neighbouring villages, they fall into a trance-like state as folk music plays all around them.

Winner

The thinker (Thomas Kast)

The thinker (Thomas Kast)

 

I took this shot on a trip to Jerusalem, where I was captivated by the solitary figure of a lost-in-thought Rabbi, surrounded by a small crowd of religious Jews bustling underneath the Western Wall. I found it as I searched for a discreet yet representative motif of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter; a scene conveying the atmosphere of the place – its fusion of history, modernity, impassioned flurry and silent contemplation.

Where: Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

By: Thomas Kast

Setting: Nikon D850, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, 1 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 64

This shot has a wonderful sense of movement, with the other figures practically ‘flowing’ around the rabbi, who is positioned perfectly in the frame. A thoughtful, thought-provoking image with an almost painterly feel about it.

— Judges' comments

Travel Icons

Commended 

Fasting festival Rakher Upobash (Md Rafayat Haque Khan)

Fasting festival Rakher Upobash (Md Rafayat Haque Khan)

Great viewpoint, pattern and colour together with an unusual and eye-catching composition. Makes you want to join in on the feast.

— Judges' comments

 

Shri Lokenath was an 18th-century Hindu saint and philosopher in Bengal. During the fasting festival of Rakher Upobash (or Kartik Brati), thousands of Hindu devotees sit on the floor to worship with food and lights, praying to the gods in front of the Shri Shri Lokenath Brahmachari Ashram and Temple in Dhaka.

Where: Dhaka, Bangladesh

By: Md Rafayat Haque Khan

Settings: Nikon D300, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 @ 17mm, 1/45 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 640

Highly commended 

A great sense of scale allows the photographer to catch the moment well. Plus, the restricted palette of colours works well, helping the figure in white fully stand out. It’s a wonderfully delicate, touching and evocative image

— Judges comments 

 

Submission (Sunayana Dhang)

Submission (Sunayana Dhang)

Where: Karnataka, India

By: Sunayana Dhang

Settings: Canon EOS 80D, EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II @ 55mm, 1/500 sec @ f/4, ISO 200

The image was shot at the top of Vindhyagiri Hill in the sleepy town of Shravanbelagola, where a 17m-tall monolith of Lord Bahubali is anointed once every 12 years. During this auspicious ceremony, milk, saffron, turmeric and sandal powder are poured over the head of the deity while a prayerful devotee from the Jain community is touched with divine perception.

Runner-up

Bamburgh Castle as the sea fog cleared (Sandy Welsh)

Bamburgh Castle as the sea fog cleared (Sandy Welsh)

Without the two people here, this is just another image of Northumberland’s finest icon; with them, it is transformed in scale and wonder, with the North Sea at its brooding, windswept best

— Judges' comments

 

This image of Bamburgh Castle, was taken on what turned out to be a beautiful summer’s day. But the morning began with a thick sea fog rolling in off the cold North Sea. As the day warmed up, the castle could occasionally be glimpsed through the fog; then, eventually, the mist seemed to dramatically boil away off the beach, which was when I took this shot.

Where: Bamburgh, Northumberland

By: Sandy Welsh

Settings: Fujifilm X-T2, XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR @ 20.10mm, 1/950 sec @ f/13, ISO 200

Winner

Colourful Cuba (Geraint Rowland)

Colourful Cuba (Geraint Rowland)

 

Cuba is a photographer’s dream: full of colourful classic cars and beautiful architecture. This image was taken on the seafront road in Havana. One afternoon, after a heavy downpour, I returned to this beautiful white Orthodox church and started photographing the cars as they drove past. Using a wide-angle lens, I got as close to the action as possible and adopted a low angle to ensure both the car and the building were in the frame. Finally, I used a fast shutter speed to freeze the splash of the water made by the passing cars.

 

Where: Havana, Cuba

By: Geraint Rowland

Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mk IV, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM @ 16mm, 1/2,000 @ f/7.1, ISO 160

A classic car with an extra splash of photographic flair. We loved the originality of this: the low viewpoint, the water splashed up by the wheels. Crucially for the composition, there’s space for the car to drive into (giving it a sense of motion) and no other colour to compete with that pink.

— Judges' comments